January 21st 2020 (Nyamilepedia) – South Sudan’s main armed opposition group, SPLM/A (IO), is forcefully conscripting youth in part of the country, authorities said on Monday.
Northern Liech information minister, David Gai, said the group – which is a signatory to the revitalized peace agreement signed with the government last year – was forcefully recruiting youth into its rank and file.
He said villagers have fled several areas in the state’s Rubkona country saying the process has been ongoing for almost a week.
“There is forceful recruitment by SPLA-IO in the area of greater Rubkona,” Gai was quoted as saying on Tuesday.
“This has happened for almost a week, they are forcefully recruiting the youth and also taking the cows of the civilians who run away from the forceful recruitment,” he added alleging that parents of those who fled the conscription were being “arbitrarily arrested”.
For his part, SPLA-IO deputy spokesman, Col. Lam Paul Gabriel denied the allegations. He said what he termed as a “negative propaganda” was not taking place adding that all their forces in the state are in cantonment sites as agreed by the parties in the revitalized peace agreement.
“Our forces are in the cantonment sites and the cantonment sites are Melmel and Ding-ding; and we have our base currently in a place called Tumur and SSOA forces in Mayom,” the opposition spokesman said.
“Now what will take us from Melmel to go and recruit in Thoat and Nhialdiu? This is just a negative propaganda being put against SPLA IO,” he added.